“Sovereign” Mother of John the Baptist and Brother Jerry Love Pleads Guilty to $100 Million Tax-Fraud Scheme (And Then There’s the Chimp…)
Sueko (a.k.a. Suco) the Chimp and John Oyer, who is not John the Baptist.
Rampaging chimp video after the jump.
Some stories are just so bizarre on their own, we can’t think of a single witty remark to make them any richer — so we’ll just encourage you to read the stories below, and watch the rampaging-chimp video at the end.
First, check out this profile of the cast of characters (and we do mean characters) — Shirley Oyer and her sons, one who heads his own “United World Church” and claims to be John the Baptist (which Oyer herself apparently believes, since “witnessing and hearing things no one else could,” including “a vision from John the Baptist informing me of his return through” her); one who heads another church, “Jerry Love Ministries” (and goes by the moniker “Brother Jerry Love”); and a third whose close relationship with a chimpanzee is only one of his problems with the local law:
“All in a family: John the Baptist, Suco the chimp, and the largest false-claims tax-fraud case in Missouri history”
Ben Palosaari, The Pitch, July 24, 2012
One more thing: The reason we think Shirley Oyer is one of those “sovereign” types is the statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that Oyer “made claims such as that she was a citizen of Kansas and not of the United States and thus she was not responsible for paying federal taxes.” That’s the mark of a so-called “sovereign citizen” if we’ve ever seen one.
By Joe Harris, reprinted with the kind permission of Courthouse News Service
KANSAS CITY, Mo., October 27, 2010 (CN) – Brother Jerry Love (Gerald Poynter II) ran a tax-fraud scheme “for himself and other taxpayers” that “resulted in claims of more than $64 million in fraudulent refunds,” and had ill-gotten gains sent to Jerry Love Ministries, federal prosecutors say.
Prosecutors want Brother Jerry, of Kansas City and Blue Springs, Mo., enjoined from filling out tax forms for other people – and for himself – particularly through ruses include 1099 forms.
“This scheme is lucrative for Poynter,” prosecutors say. “In exchange for Poynter’s fraudulent ‘services,’ his customers typically paid a fee of fifteen percent of any refund they obtained. For a $200,000 refund, Poynter’s fee would be about $30,000.”
The IRS found at least 165 fraudulent returns Poynter prepared, according to the complaint. They add: “It is yet unknown how many fraudulent income tax returns he aided and abetted, and may be continuing to aid and abet, through his network of ‘affiliates’ or ‘branch managers.’”
Poynter apparently didn’t mess around with small stuff. For one couple in Temecula, Calif., prosecutors say, he prepared a bogus 1040 that reported “a grossly inflated taxable income of $1,373,447,” from which the federal government allegedly had held $1,328,617.
The Temecula couple requested a refund of $875,705, and the IRS sent it to them, “erroneously.” The husband then wired $118,000 “to the bank account of Gerald A. Poynter, DBA Jerry Love Ministries,” according to the complaint.
“Poynter has promoted, and may be continuing to promote, an abusive tax scheme that uses fraudulent information returns Forms 1099-OID and Forms 1099-A, and individual income tax returns to generate outlandish and false claims for refunds by his customers,” the complaint states.
“The returns that Poynter has prepared, or has assisted in preparing, fabricate the amount of tax withheld on behalf of his customers. The fabricated tax withholding reported to the IRS on his customers’ behalf results in fraudulent refund claims by his customers in amounts as large as $5.3 million.”
Poynter also did business as Heartland Investment Group, Sharper Solutions, Sharper Solutions Family Foundation, Sharper Solutions Foundation, Blackbelt Tax Services, Sharper Solutions Tax Services, Etree, Luckytown, AKKA, Jerry Love Ministries, and The Dojo, all of which are named as defendants.
Nationwide Scheme Attempted to Gain Nearly $100 Million in Fraudulent Refunds
KANSAS CITY, Mo, September 6, 2012 — David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., business owner pleaded guilty in federal court today to her role in a nationwide tax fraud scheme that attempted to receive nearly $100 million in fraudulent refunds from the IRS in the largest federal false claims case that has ever been prosecuted in Missouri.
Shirley J. Oyer, 71, of Overland Park, Kan., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to filing false claims for tax refunds. Oyer is the owner of ABC Seamless Siding in Kansas City, Mo.
Oyer admitted she participated in a tax refund scheme that was promoted across the United States from July 1, 2008, to Sept. 21, 2011. Conspirators received more than $3.5 million of the total $96 million in attempted fraudulent refunds.
1099-OID Tax Fraud Scheme
Oyer and the other conspirators utilized 1099-Original Issue Discount forms as part of their scheme.
These forms are legitimately used by tax filers who must pay taxes on income they receive from the interest on certain investments, such as some types of bonds. Tax on certain bonds must be paid as income accrues. Such bond holders receive annual forms, called 1099-Original Issue Discount (OID), from the debt issuers. Bond holders then file these OID forms with the IRS, along with their income tax forms.
However, the scheme to which Oyer pleaded guilty today utilized the 1099-OID forms in a nonsensical manner. Clients of the conspirators, working with their branch managers, assembled financial documents such as mortgage and loan statements, car payments, foreclosure records, bank statements, credit card statements, and other records of debt and spending. This debt information — rather than any actual bond income — was used to prepare and/or finalize false tax returns and fictitious Forms 1099-OID.
Oyer was a promoter and branch manager who recruited at least a dozen clients in furtherance of the scheme. She helped these individuals prepare and file at least 26 fraudulent returns, claiming $12.4 million in refunds. Of those attempts, the IRS paid out $92,974 and denied the remainder. Oyer did not file any returns in her name, and her personal total profit from the scheme was $2,862.
When her clients received letters from the IRS alerting them that their filings were frivolous and potentially fraudulent, Oyer assisted her clients by responding to those letters. However, according to today’s plea agreement, one of Oyer’s clients received a warning letter from the IRS in the summer of 2009 advising that her return was frivolous and she would be charged a $5,000 penalty. Oyer told her client that she would send a response letter that would “absolve” her client from the penalty. Oyer never apologized or offered to refund her 10 percent fee or reimburse her client for a subsequent $5,000 penalty.
Oyer’s former accountant had worked for her and ABC Seamless Siding since 1996, including by preparing payroll taxes for the company. For years, according to the plea agreement, he argued with Oyer about taxes. He describes Oyer as one of the most intelligent and manipulative women that he knows. She frequently asked him questions about taxes. Often, she made claims such as that she was a citizen of Kansas and not of the United States and thus she was not responsible for paying federal taxes. That is why she refuses to file any personal tax returns. He explained that everyone has to pay their share, which was fair because everyone has access to roads, hospitals, sewer systems, and other things that our taxes go to pay for.
In late 2007 or early 2008, Oyer asked him about 1099-OIDs. Her accountant responded that she could not be making up OID numbers in the manner she described because she was not a bank and this approach was wrong. Oyer later told him that she was helping people send in responses to the IRS about OID returns.
On other occasions, the plea agreement says, he explained to her that the way ABC Seamless Siding was set up, as a trust, was a scam and was a classic textbook example of misuse of a trust. That is the same reason that he would not prepare ABC Seamless Siding’s 1041 corporate or partnership returns, nor would he have been willing to sign them. In late 2011, the plea agreement says, he had issues with Oyer getting other people involved in her tax schemes and getting hurt. He told Oyer that he would not work with her anymore because other people were being manipulated and hurt by her tax scams.
Six additional co-defendants have also pleaded guilty. Karen A. Olson, 41, of Wood Dale, Ill., and Mark J. Murray, 50, of Newton, Ala., pleaded guilty on Aug. 7, 2012, to their roles in the scheme. Murray also pleaded guilty to filing false claims for tax refunds. John V. Perdido, 56, of Temecula, Calif., acted as a “branch manager” and recruited clients for the scheme. Perdido received the largest single refund from the scheme – $805,749, which must be forfeited to the government. Robert E. Morris, 66, of Rocklin, Calif., and Earl Lee Davis, 53, of Monroe, La., also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Co-defendant Jennifer S. Wilson, 35, of Cumming, Ga., was sentenced on Aug. 2, 2012, to one year and one day in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to filing a false claim for a tax refund. The court also ordered Wilson to pay $161,514 in restitution.
Under the terms of today’s binding plea agreement, the government and Oyer jointly ask the court to impose a split custodial sentence of six months in prison plus six months of home detention, followed by three years of supervised release. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
Source: United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Missouri
Finally, here’s the promised video of Sueko (or Suco) the Chimp on the rampage that led her to a permanent home at the zoo (where, hear tell, she’s thriving):
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